From Round to Square (and back)

For The Emperor's Teacher, scroll down (↓) to "Topics." It's the management book that will rock the world (and break the vase, as you will see). Click or paste the following link for a recent profile of the project:

A new post appears every day at 12:05* (CDT). There's more, though. Take a look at the right-hand side of the page for over four years of material (2,000 posts and growing) from Seinfeld and country music to every single day of the Chinese lunar calendar...translated. Look here ↓ and explore a little. It will take you all the way down the page...from round to square (and back again).
*Occasionally I will leave a long post up for thirty-six hours, and post a shorter entry at noon the next day.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Felicitous Felinity (4)—Irenic

Click here for the introduction to the Round and Square series Felicitous Felinity.
A year ago on Round and Square (9 July 2012)—Fieldnotes From History: Provincial Elections-k
Two years ago on Round and Square (9 July 2011)—Le Tour de la France: André Makes a Map
[a] Amity RF

It has nothing to do with a sly, knowing scowl under the tip of a beret as you sip your Chateauneuf du Pape and reread a few well-marked pages of Derrida. There is no hot-tipped iron(y) here. We have, rather, a true blues classic. This is all about Iren(ic). Good night, Irene. Sleep. Calm sleep. Goonight, Lou. Goonight, May. Goonight.

And if you don't click the links, you are missing two veritable American treasures.
[b] Pacific production RF

Irenic—there's nothing ironic about it (except when there is...ask Neville Chamberlin about that, when you get a chance). This is not a word for neocons...except when it is. You see, politics is a fuzzy business, and strange bedfellows abound. Rampant pugilists end up making peace, while those with a rather more irenic disposition often end up embroiled in the events of their times

Life is almost always more complicated than our self-images (and our images of others). 

Having said that, though, there are people who just exude calm, pacificity, even-temperament, and placidity. One of them was called "Jesus," and another "Buddha." We also have, in a more recent idiom, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King (but not really Martin Luther and his angry constipation). Those more continent names do present a pretty high bar, though. 

How about looking to popular culture to think about irenic dispositions? People of my age think of Bjorn Borg (but never John McEnroe, much though I have come to, sort of, like him). Shimon Peres springs to mind, as do Phil Mickelson and Laozi (Lao-tzu).
[c] Inducing calm RF

Before we continue, and think about calm, conciliation-seeking-kitties, let's get a definition. 


**(Beloit College students and faculty: this is available through the library. Many other RSQ readers may find the link through a local library). The "OED" is the best, by far, of any dictionary on the planet. Among mere mortals, the American Heritage is superior to anything else (I have loved it since I was a child, and my father taught me the many meanings of "culture"). I use the Merriam-Webster site because it is solid and everyone around the world can access it. Find your way to AHD or OED, though. The latter is even worth $295 a year (seriously). Words matter.
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[d] Calm RF

Now we come to the little twist that I didn't tell you about in the introduction. If your native language is not English, go to the comments section and give a rough translation that "works" for you. I am hoping to get a whole passel of approximations for "irenic" in languages ranging from Bai and Dutch to Mandarin and Swahili. Of course they will be approximations. Language doesn't have exact equivalents. That would be boring (try to find a synonym for schadenfreude, for laughing-at-others-misfortunes-sakes). 

So what's a word that means something like "being calm and inducing it in others" in your native language?

And, if you really want to think about how to make use of vocabulary, use a sentence that you might actually speak or write

          The best leaders in times of strife might well be ones 
          with an irenic disposition (and a keen sense of how to 
          use force when absolutely necessary). The name? 
          Sunzi (Sun-tzu).

Irenic. It's all about really understanding The Art of War. And if that doesn't make sense, you need to stay tuned to these pages in the coming months, as a new series begins. It's called "The Art of Warning." Irenic. It's all about warfare (if you really, really "get it").

Just ask cats. They know irenic better than we do. Waaaay better.

[e] Conciliation RF

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